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In reference to question:
Redmine - Database Structure/Normalization

So the stackoverflow'ers (@Damir Sudarevic, @marapet, @Liath, @jackJoe, @davidkonrad) mark this question as "primarily opinion-based"....
even if my post specifically states that i am looking for a response from "VERY experienced" dba's, i still get "primarily opinion-based because answers are entirely based on opinion rather than specific expertise"?
is it just me? or does that not contradict itself?
can someone explain to me why my question is not based on "specific expertise"?
how should I have presented this question to facilitate proper discussion/answers/responses instead of always being criticized and labeled before getting any hints as to what is right or wrong?

  • The on hold is a hint what is wrong with the question. Edit it and it can be reopened. – juergen d Apr 7 '14 at 16:27
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    I think you are misinterpreting the close reason. Opinions are still opinions, even if they come from experts. I'm not sure how "I would like to hear about the Pros/cons of how the tables are laid out and how the data is separated or normalized, and whether or not it might be worth re-structuring." could be construed as not asking for opinions... – Jason C Apr 7 '14 at 16:28
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    Stack Overflow is no discussion board. We are looking for definitve answers to a problem. And not to opinions what is good and bad (pros and cons) – juergen d Apr 7 '14 at 16:28
  • Lol how many questions have you personally had get "reopened" after editing? – agent provocateur Apr 7 '14 at 16:29
  • @Jsh562 I've reopened quite a few myself, and if you believe you've fixed your question you can always ask for reopen votes on chat. – Jason C Apr 7 '14 at 16:29
  • i want ANSWERS. DEFINITIVE ANSWERS. – agent provocateur Apr 7 '14 at 16:29
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    Everyone wants definitive, objectively correct answers from experts to their question. What else? That doesn't change the subjective nature of a question though. – Pekka supports GoFundMonica Apr 7 '14 at 16:29
  • is the reason why i posted it here and in that format – agent provocateur Apr 7 '14 at 16:29
  • the question specifically states i want an expert with experience to respond to the question – agent provocateur Apr 7 '14 at 16:30
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    @jsh Which doesn't change the fact that you are asking for their opinion. – Billy Mailman Apr 7 '14 at 16:31
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    @Jsh562 Your question here indicates that you are asking for explanations and suggestions, which implies that you are interested in being open-minded. However, your comments here contradict that, and seem to indicate that you only wish to argue your point until others are convinced. Unfortunately, it does not appear that you will get much more out of a discussion under these circumstances. – Jason C Apr 7 '14 at 16:32
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    @jsh No, you are not. You are asking for general comments, for what they think of the structure. Opinions, not facts. – Billy Mailman Apr 7 '14 at 16:33
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    Stack Overflow isn't an open-minded place in the sense you're using the word, and nowhere is it claiming to be. It has a very specific and narrow scope for what is on topic. – Pekka supports GoFundMonica Apr 7 '14 at 16:34
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    @Jsh562: You are not listening to anyone, all you are doing is telling everyone they are not listening. It doesn't matter that you 'asked for experts only'; do you think that everyone will be a good boy and not post until they have a certificate of expertise? You asked for pros and cons, and everyone with an axe to grind and thinks themselves an expert will come in and post opinions. That doesn't work so we disallow such questions. – Martijn Pieters Apr 7 '14 at 16:39
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    Actual experts are largely uninterested in questions like these, so they don't answer them, so these non-existent answers don't get upvotes and rise to the top. At the end, there is usually not a reasonable, high quality, expert answer. There is usually not good detailed information about the topic. – Servy Apr 7 '14 at 17:06
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I think you are misinterpreting the close reason. Opinions are still opinions, even if they come from experts. I'm not sure how "I would like to hear about the Pros/cons of how the tables are laid out and how the data is separated or normalized, and whether or not it might be worth re-structuring." could be construed as not asking for opinions.

However, as for suggestions:

  • If and only if you can restructure your question to include hard requirements (e.g. how many users are you expecting, what kinds of queries are you running, what kind of information are you trying to represent, what is your current actual design strategy and why do you feel it is inadequate), you may be able to get advice on http://dba.stackexchange.com.

  • You could go one step further, run some tests and identify specific areas of bottlenecks. Attempt to optimize those bottlenecks, show your attempts, then again, http://dba.stackexchange.com, or perhaps here on http://stackoverflow.com if it is a concrete issue with a specific query rather than a design issue.

In any case, as it stands, you are simply asking for pros and cons of possible approaches. Whether or not the answers come from experts, there will still be experts with differing opinions on the matter. Questions like this do not always have the hard concrete answers that you want them to have. That's why experts are experts; they've had plenty of experience with which to form their opinions, and you are fairly explicitly asking for those opinions.

Responding to your comment below, where you write:

questions like this do not have hard concrete answers. therefore, the only way to get a close enough "definitive" answer would probably be to "ask an expert for his 'opinion'" on the matter no?

That is correct. And SO is categorically not the place to do that. There are other forums that may be more appropriate, e.g. http://www.dbforums.com/ (or wherever, that was just a cursory Google search).

StackExchange sites simply do not exist for that type of question. We never made any claims otherwise. As an analogy, you cannot ask a question about cooking on a home-improvement site then be surprised when your question is rejected, no matter how good/bad of a question it may be (and that also does not imply a problem with the home-improvement site).

I had a few of my first questions here closed as opinion-based as well, and it does sting, but over time I learned what SE is all about.

Check out Having a bad start. Is that normal? for both a good general response to some of your fundamental issues (possibly), and, more importantly, a great example of a constructive way to post about these types of things on meta.

  • questions like this do not have hard concrete answers. therefore, the only way to get a close enough "definitive" answer would probably be to "ask an expert for his 'opinion'" on the matter no? – agent provocateur Apr 7 '14 at 16:39
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    @Jsh562 That is correct. And SO is categorically not the place to do that. There are other forums that may be more appropriate, e.g. dbforums.com (or wherever). StackExchange sites simply do not exist for that type of question. We never made any claims otherwise. You cannot ask a question about cooking on a home-improvement site then be surprised when your question is rejected, no matter how good/bad of a question it may be (and that also does not imply a problem with the home-improvement site). – Jason C Apr 7 '14 at 16:40
  • now THAT is something I can understand. So asking any type of question that is about a topic that does not already have complete scientific reasoning/evidence and could possibly have some issues at all in the future is not allowed. In essence, any type of R&D is not allowed on Stack Overflow? – agent provocateur Apr 7 '14 at 16:45
  • I dont know why you would use such an analogy. I dont think i made a cooking reference at a home improvement site. but correct me if im wrong. – agent provocateur Apr 7 '14 at 17:34
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As it stands, I'd say that your question isn't primarily opinion based, instead, it's "Too Broad".

You want a list of all of the pros/cons between two different options. You can start listing out objective facts about two various options, but whether they are good things are bad things are somewhat subjective. For example, you think that complex is bad, because it's hard, whereas someone else thinks that a complex solution is cool and interesting. So while I do think that "too broad" would be a better fit, there is still some basis for the question being excessively opinion based.

This is a list question. The list could go on forever. There are all sorts of things that can be considered in making this decision. The scope of "all of the good and bad things about these two options" is just not a specific question.

The question is also dangerously close to asking something like, "Which is better, X or Y?" or "Should I use X or Y?" Those are clearly primarily opinion based, and aren't based on objective fact. The users that closed the question likely interpreted the question as meaning this, even though that's not what is literally asked.

If it really, really, bothers you, you could ask a mod to reopen/re-close with the appropriate reason, but in most situations that's just not a productive use of anyone's time.

  • this i COULD agree with. An actual "OPEN MINDED" Person. See multiple sides of the story, and offer explanations. hope people learn from this. – agent provocateur Apr 7 '14 at 16:51
  • @Jsh562 It's worth mentioning that I wrote this before reading your unconstructive and abrasive comments under your question. Had I read them all first, I likely wouldn't have bothered. – Servy Apr 7 '14 at 17:14
  • thats fine. I would still upvote you if i could. if people treat me well and want to promote discussion, i do that. if not, i also do that as well. – agent provocateur Apr 7 '14 at 17:35
  • I dont need to judge you based on your dealings with other people. I wouldn't know the history or the context of anything to assume anything off of that kind of information. Hopefully other "open-minded" people would see it the same way. – agent provocateur Apr 7 '14 at 17:42
  • I completely agree with you, Servy, that the primary problem with the question is that it is "Too Broad", rather than "Opinion-based". The scope of presumptive answers is way too large for SO. It also seems to ask for commentary on a totally unspecified database structure, making it unanswerable on grounds of vagueness, as well. – Josh Caswell Apr 7 '14 at 17:43
  • not specified a database structure in my original question? although my first word in the question defines it so by saying its a redmine database. probably not an expert in the field, but still commenting/criticizing my question with false perceptions. This is the kind of behavior that I am trying to bring attention to. Not approaching problems with open-minds by only trying to fit old solutions to old problems, to new issues. everyone instantly just says "its opinion-based" or "its too broad" but no one thinks about how i got to this point or the way the rules could be interpreted. – agent provocateur Apr 10 '14 at 17:21
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    @Jsh562 Josh is saying that the schema of the tables is unknown, which it is. His point is entirely valid. – Servy Apr 10 '14 at 17:23
  • maybe i just dont understand the wording then? What do you mean the schema of the tables is unknown, when the pre-set database has been specified? – agent provocateur Apr 10 '14 at 17:36
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I want to state I agree with the people already leaving a comment. Your question is PRIMARILY based on opinions because the way you asked will always result in an answer starting with 'I think', which might be the opinion of an expert but still an opinion.

As an example, if you would ask something like this:

How is the performance impacted by this design?

This leaves no place for opinions, because you can measure the best answer. This is the type of answers we had like to see on SO.

So as a suggestion: edit your questions to make the answers measurable.

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